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To answer directly, if this property was transferred to you while married, it is technically marital property. If you would have inherited the funds or the property, then that is considered to be 'separate' property as anything inherited is separate unless you choose to share it with your spouse. Likewise anything you purchase before divorce is granted is potentially marital. Unless the separation agreement expressly states that anything purchased while separated is going to be considered separate, it is still a marital asset.
Yes, but even a life estate itself may have some value. So the life estate would also be a potential marital asset that would have enough value to be considered for separation and for a marital asset split.